Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold

This is a review of “A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold” by George R.R. Martin. It is part 2 of the third book in A Song of Ice and Fire.

This book directly follows A Storm of Swords-1: Steel and Snow.

If you are a Game of Thrones fan and don’t want to know anything that will spoil the show I am letting you know now, there are SPOILERS AHEAD! I would suggest reading this review only if you have already read “A Game of Thrones“, “A Clash of Kings” and “A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow“.

Daenerys Targaryen has conquered the city of Astapor and has won herself an army of Unsullied. She freed the slaves of Astapor and has earnt herself a following. They are a ragtag lot, but she cannot bear to turn them away. She gave them back their right to choose and they chose to follow her. How can she then command them to choose differently? She sets out to free the remaining cities of Slaver’s Bay. But will this only increase the amount of mouths she has to feed?

Arya Stark is stuck with Lord Beric Dondarrion and his band of outlaws. They intend to ransom her to her mother Lady Catelyn Stark. Gendry decides to pledge allegiance to the outlaws, leaving Arya feeling quite friendless. And she is sick of waiting. She just wants to see her mother and brother. And she wants to see them now. But will her impatience get her into a bigger mess?

Jaime Lannister is back on his way to King’s Landing after being captured and injured by the Bloody Mummers/Brave Companions. His injuries are giving him fevered dreams. He cannot ignore them and so returns to Harrenhall for Brienne of Tarth, whom he has left behind.

Catelyn Stark is accompanying her brother Lord Edmure Tully and her son King Robb Stark to see Robb make his apologies to Lord Walder Frey and to see Edmure wed to Lord Frey’s daughter Roslin. Catelyn can only hope that her son does not offend Lord Frey further. They need his allegiance and they need access to The Crossing.

Samwell Tarly is still trying to make his way back to Castle Black after the horrible night at Craster’s Keep. With him he has Craster’s daughter Gilly and her infant son. But the night is full of terrors (lol) and wights and The Others…

Jon is on the run after escaping The Wildlings. He has been shot in the leg with an arrow and his wound is bad. He manages to make it back to Mole’s Town where he warns the villagers of the impending influx of Wildlings. From there he continues on to Castle Black where he is less than certain of a warm welcome. But he is a Brother of the Night’s Watch and he has a duty.

Tyrion Lannister is still unhappily wed to Sansa Stark. Neither are looking forward to King Joffery’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey is becoming more and more dangerous and outspoken as the days pass, and he loves neither Sansa or Tyrion.

Lord Davos Seaworth, is now King’s Hand to Stannis. King Stannis remains under the sway of Priestess Melisandre. And her intentions seem to be getting darker for all she purports to be a supporter of the Lord of Light. Davos has decided to learn to read, as King’s Hand, he believes he should possess that skill. But learning to read means being able to read troubling letters…

I liked this book. How could you not like this series? But it was very hard to read in some parts. In fact in some parts I had to shut the book and say “I don’t like this book!” to my partner. But all in all I DID like it. Sometimes it is good to read a book that challenges you and your expectations of what should happen in a book. I am looking forward to reading the next novel.

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A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow

This is a review of “A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow” by George R. R. Martin. It is part one of the third novel in A Song of Fire and Ice.

The story picks up at the close of “A Clash of Kings“.

Please don’t read this review if you have not read “A Game of Thrones” but intend to read it, or watch the HBO series Game of Thrones without it being spoiled for you. This goes for “A Clash of Kings” also. SPOILERS AHEAD!

I loved a lot about this first Part of Book 3. One thing I really liked was getting to read from the perspective of Jaime Lannister. Jaime has been freed by Catelyn Stark and is under the care of Brienne of Tarth, a female knight (previously pledged to Renly Baratheon but now to Catelyn Stark) and his own cousin Ser Cleos. They are headed for Kings Landing, Jaime is to be exchanged for Arya and Sansa, Catelyn Stark’s daughters.

Catelyn Stark finds herself placed under a kind of house arrest for her part in Jaime’s escape. She anxiously awaits her judgement from her son Robb, King in the North. But Robb has done something reckless too…

Arya Stark is on the run, having escaped from the Bloody Mummers (and Roose Bolton) at Harrenhal. She is accompanied by Hot Pie and Gendry, but she is becoming convinced that maybe they are more of a hindrance than anything…

Tyrion Lannister is fresh out of his sickbed after being injured during the battle with Stannis Baratheon. He finds that his father Lord Tywin remains at King’s Landing and has taken over all duties as Hand of the King. Not only has he taken Tyrion’s position but he has threatened to hang any whore he finds cavorting with Tyrion.

Ser Davos Seaworth, King Stannis’ loyal onion knight did not die in the battle at King’s Landing. He survived drowning and lies weak awaiting death. But he is rescued, and taken back to King Stannis, who is under the sway of Melisandre more than ever. Can Davos reach Stannis?

Sansa Stark is still at King’s Landing, very much alone in the den of (Lannister) lions. She has been put aside as Joffrey’s betrothed for Margaery Tyrell, sister to Ser Loras Tyrell and recent widow to Renly Baratheon. Sansa is giddy with delight after having escaped the horrid fate of being wed to Joffrey. But Margaery has invited Sansa to dine with her. Sansa is suspicious, but can hardly refuse…

Jon Snow, following the last orders given to him by his fellow brother of the Night’s Watch Qhorin Halfhand has yielded to the wildlings and has infiltrated the Wildling camp. He is taken to meet The King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder. Can he successfully convince them that he is no longer a brother of the Night’s Watch?

Daenerys Targaryen has her ships.
She has her dragons and she is headed back to her friend Illyrio in Pentos. But Ser Jorah Mormont reminds her that if she is to head for Westeros, she will be at a better advantage if she masses her own army. So Dany listens and changes course. For Slaver’s Bay…

Bran Stark is separated from his brother Rickon. This way, if they are taken, they will not be taken together. Bran is with Meera and Jojen, children of Lord Stark’s bannerman, Lord Howland Reed and Hodor, the gentle (but gigantic) simpleton of Winterfell. He is headed for safety and is in search for answers about his warg dreams.

Samwell Tarly is another new perspective in A Song of Ice and Fire. He lets us know what is happening with the Night’s Watch while Jon is with the Wildlings.

I really enjoyed “A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow”. I loved the new character perspectives, and I loved hearing more about characters who
appeared in books one and two as more sideline characters. This book was more fast paced and action packed than book two, and I read it rather quickly. A great read!

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A Clash of Kings

This is a review of “A Clash of Kings” by George R. R. Martin. It is the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire and is the sequel to “A Game of Thrones“. Season two of HBO’s Game of Thrones is based on this novel.

And what a novel! First of all, this book was so long, I thought it would never end. But even better, I didn’t want it to end. I am so glad there are so many books left in the series for me to devour.

I must say: reading the novel and watching the beginning of Season 2 of Game of Thrones simultaneously was a little difficult to do. But I couldn’t pass up either! While this second season has deviated from the novel somewhat, I don’t have any problems with the changes (unlike the cringe inducing changes that occur in the Harry Potter movies) and they actually improved on the continuity of events.

The novel begins roughly where the first novel ended. We are introduced to new characters (in particular Stannis Baratheon and his followers), and characters who we already know are fleshed out (Theon Greyjoy for one).

SPOILERS: if you are an avid Game of Thrones viewer, I would suggest that perhaps this review is not for you. I do not want to inadvertently reveal something as yet unbeknownst to you. Same goes if you want to watch the first season of the show or read the first novel but never have. I would highly recommend averting your eyes, and leaving this review for a later date.

The book begins by describing events surrounding Stannis Baratheon, the true and “rightful” heir to the Iron Throne. Under the sway of the mysterious and somewhat sinister Red Priestess Melisandre of Asshai, Stannis appears to be a hard hearted and somewhat unlikable candidate for Kingship.

But never fear! As the the title suggests, there are plenty of Kings to choose from in this novel.

Renly Baratheon is not content to sit idly by and let his older brother Stannis take over the throne. While he agrees with Stannis and the late Eddard Stark on the illegitimacy of Prince Joffrey’s claim to the throne, he believes that he should be King and not Stannis.

After the death of his father, Robb Stark decides to march for King’s Landing. After gathering his forces in the North, his followers dub him The King in the North. Outraged by the death of his father, and fearful for his sisters safety, he wants nothing more than to defeat King Joffrey.

Joffrey and his mother, Queen Regent Cersei declare all of these “Kings” to be treasonous traitors. They hold Sansa Stark as a hostage to ensure compliance from Robb and Catelyn Stark. Unfortunately Joffrey had already beheaded their most valuable hostage in the last novel, and Arya Stark has disappeared from court and from Kings Landing.

Arya Stark, disguised as a boy, has been taken by Yoren, a Brother of The Nights Watch. Yoren intends to take her home to Winterfell. But war breaks out between the forces of the many Kings and the road to The Wall becomes a perilous place.

Jon Snow, the Stark bastard is at Castle Black on The Wall. Lord Commander Mormont of the Nights Watch decides that a large scale ranging north of the wall is in order after a man rose from the dead and tried to kill him. He gathers a large force of Brothers of the Nights Watch, and ranges north of the wall in an effort to learn more. He hopes to speak to The Wildlings, the free and lawless folk who dwell north of the wall, but each village they pass through while ranging is empty and void of people. News reaches their ears that Mance Rayder the so-called “King Beyond the Wall” is gathering all of The Wildlings…

Across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen is lost in the desert, thirsty, and trying to care for her newborn dragons. She wants nothing more than to travel by sea to claim her Iron Throne, but doesn’t really have the slightest inkling of how to go about it. Deserted by her Khalasar after the death of her husband Khal Drogo, she is left with only her blood riders and a few followers. Their numbers are dwindling due to thirst and extreme heat exhaustion; but Dany refuses to give up. She will sit upon The Iron Throne if it’s the last thing she’ll ever do.

So many details, so many new characters and plot lines to follow, but all of it comes together and pans out beautifully. The villains in this novel are truly vicious.

I really enjoyed this book!

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